Hike to Laguna 69 in Cordillera Blanca

Laguna 69 Trailhead

The definition of adventure and the most amazing colored water you will ever see.

This is one of those hikes I'll be telling my grandchildren about. Heck, I'll be taking my grandchildren here just so I can do it again! 

Hidden in the Cordillera Blanca lies a turquoise lake fed by snow packed mountains and tiny waterfalls. This is not a hike for the faint of heart. Beginning at 3,800 meters, you must already be acclimatized otherwise you will deal with the consequences that high altitude sickness brings. 

The first part of the trail is level. After about 45 minutes you reach the first set of switchbacks. The incline isn't too extreme on these switchbacks, but because of the elevation, it's a little harder to breathe and may take a little longer than normal. After the switchbacks you will reach a small lake and another flat grazing area, with the snowy peaks of Cordillera Blanca peaking through on the other end. After another more difficult set of switchbacks you will finally reach Laguna 69. 

In total it took us around 2.5 hours to get to the top and oddly enough, 2.5 hours to get back down. Once we reached the top we went for a swim (it's really not that bad) and then ate lunch overlooking the laguna. 

There is also the option to camp. There are a few campsites at the beginning of the trail or you can set up camp up by the laguna if you want to haul all your stuff up there with you. I'd recommend the latter, because, why not?!

Pack List

  • Layers-pants, long sleeve shirts, fleece, waterproof jacket, socks, beanie, scarf
  • Lunch + Snacks
  • Hiking shoes
  • Walking poles
  • Camera
  • Water bottle
  • Small day bag
Show More
RT Distance 8.1 Miles
Elevation Gain 2624.7 Feet
Activities Photography, Swimming, Hiking
Skill Level Advanced
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Lake
Scenic

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Lives up to the hype

There are a lot of hyped up spots out there that don't make the grade. Laguna 69 is not one of those. The water really is THAT blue, and surrounded by one of the most beautiful mountain ranges I've ever seen. If you're there on a day tour, it'll be a little crowded, but it's still spectacular.


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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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